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Maximize Tax Savings With This Little-Known Retirement Strategy Recommended by Experts

This lesser-known strategy can lower your tax liabilities or even boost your refund, especially for married couples.
Cover Image Source: Maximize tax savings with the right strategies (representative image) | Unsplash | LinkedIn Sales Solutions
Cover Image Source: Maximize tax savings with the right strategies (representative image) | Unsplash | LinkedIn Sales Solutions

As the tax season looms and individuals scramble to optimize their financial strategies, there’s a little-known gem in the realm of retirement planning that could significantly impact your tax bill, the spousal IRA. This lesser-known strategy, often overlooked by many, has the potential to lower your tax liabilities or even boost your refund, especially for married couples, where one spouse doesn't earn income, per CNBC. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this retirement strategy and explore how it could benefit you.

Cover Image Source: Woman Working on a Laptop | George Milton | Pexels
 Woman working on a laptop (representative image) | George Milton | Pexels

A spousal IRA is a separate retirement account, either Roth or traditional, specifically designed for the non-working spouse within a married couple. While the standard requirement for IRA contributions is earned income, such as wages or self-employment earnings, the spousal IRA offers an exception for single-income households. Despite its potential advantages, it remains underutilized, according to financial experts.

For married couples filing jointly, the window to make contributions for the previous tax year extends until the federal tax deadline, typically April 15th for most taxpayers. Traditional pretax contributions to spousal IRAs can yield tax benefits for the tax year in which they are made, contingent upon factors such as income and participation in workplace retirement plans. This flexibility allows couples to optimize their contributions, adjusting them based on their financial circumstances and tax considerations.

Certified financial planner Judy Brown emphasizes that despite income phaseouts for IRA deductibility and Roth contributions, making spousal IRA contributions can be a strategic move, particularly as part of last-minute tax planning. The contribution limits for 2023 stood at $6,500 or $7,500 for individuals aged 50 and above, with a slight increase for 2024. However, as Brown notes, even modest contributions can yield meaningful tax savings, demonstrating that it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor.

Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Suzy Hazelwood
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

While spousal IRAs present an attractive avenue for tax savings and bolstering retirement funds, financial experts caution against blindly rushing into contributions without considering broader financial objectives. CFP Laura Mattia points out that some couples may prioritize immediate financial needs over long-term retirement planning, necessitating careful evaluation of cash flow requirements.

Furthermore, an over-reliance on pretax retirement savings could inadvertently lead to future tax challenges. Mattia warns that excessive withdrawals from pretax accounts can inflate income levels, potentially triggering higher Medicare premiums and other unforeseen consequences. Thus, it underscores the importance of striking a balance between current tax advantages and future tax implications.

Happy senior businessman holding money in hand | Pexels | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Happy senior businessman holding money in hand (representative image) | Pexels | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Leveraging the benefits of a spousal IRA requires a nuanced understanding of one's financial landscape and a strategic approach to retirement planning. While it presents a valuable tool for reducing tax burdens and enhancing retirement savings, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each couple's financial situation is unique, necessitating careful consideration of various factors before embarking on this avenue.

Ultimately, the spousal IRA serves as a testament to the intricacies of retirement planning, where informed decision-making and thoughtful analysis can pave the way for long-term financial security. By consulting with financial professionals and weighing the pros and cons, couples can unlock the full potential of this hidden gem and set themselves on a path toward a financially resilient future.